“He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.” (Psalm 91:4)
The gray sky sagged over the ocean as if burdened by its bundles of low, soggy clouds. Our grandchildren didn’t notice that the sun had slipped away for an afternoon nap and had taken along its blanket of brightness. Gracie and Liam had come to scamper over rocks, to sink their feet in squishy sand, to laugh as the surf flicked its watery tail in their general direction in the shadow of the lighthouse by the cove.
We stayed for a while as the children played hopscotch with the tide because that much fun simply takes time. Not for a moment did my husband or I take our eyes off Gracie or Liam. We watched carefully as they pranced across the wet sand, squealing with delight at every seashell and encrusted rock, fascinated by each speck of life waiting to be scooped, snatched, or squished on the sandy seashore.
And I observed my husband, too, as he stood vigilantly by their side. Bill never sat, his eyes never looked away. He focused on the two little ones without wavering, without tiring of the important task before him. If the waves crept closer than he thought safe, he turned his back to the ocean, extended his arms, and guided the children further up the beachfront. This watery force would have to contend with him first, would have to wrestle with the protective barrier he was prepared to provide.
When the afternoon faded and the children grew tired, we moved on. But the image remains. God watches his children like a hawk, his eyes on us, his powerful form turned in our direction. When life rears up to smash our plans, the tide tumbles us awry, or pounding waves loom into view, the Lord is fully in charge. He is the perfect parent, the loving father, the all-seeing God aware of where we are standing and what threats cower nearby. Not for a moment will he turn away. Not for a second will he leave us defenseless. He is with us for the long haul and the tight squeeze and the endless nights, no matter how long they persist in washing over us.
“Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation” (Psalm 91:14–15).
Elizabeth A. Mitchell